The United States is in turmoil- there’s no doubt about it. There’s a battle that is raging, and it is far from the traditional Left vs. Right; there’s an epic battle for the soul of the country, a true battle of Good versus Evil which goes beyond the single (yet profound) issue of a gun or a baby.
“It’s going to be biblical,” so they say. And it is exactly that.
Yes, I follow some news (but not the mainstream media that comes to mind), and I’m aware of the US Supreme Court’s returning the issue of abortion back to the states. You’ll notice that I didn’t rage on with phrases like THEY MADE IT ILLEGAL and such, like I’m sure you’ve heard all over the media. That’s because the abortion decision has been deferred to the states, so essentially if you have a pooling of pro-choice voters in a state, you’ll have experienced virtually no changes once the vote comes around. Just vote for it, and that’s that.
That said: I was deeply affected like many others, but instead of pitching a fit and screaming like a literal demon incarnate like I’ve seen on the media, I shed a quiet tear, of both sorrow for the lost lives over the past 50 years, and of a profound gratitude that it is over, at least for a brief period. It seems that our country is beginning to turn back to its roots, at least in part, and the “life” in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” also applies to the unborn.
I suppose the whole “my body, my choice” element of this emotional issue revolves around a couple of things: when it is that one considers a human life’s beginning, and then the way it is phrased (which likely will result from how the first is addressed).
If human life begins at birth, then whatever is going on inside a woman’s body during pregnancy is considered a “growth” or “cluster of cells” or whatever it is convenient to call it. It is the woman’s body, and therefore her prerogative to eliminate any growths, cysts- what have you. The developing human life inside the mother is nothing more than that (remember the statement, “It rubs the lotion on its skin,” from Silence of the Lambs? Yea- same thing. A lack of humanity to distance the murderer.)
The problem begins when someone identifies the humanity of the cyst, or dares to propose that human life begins at conception, or at the very least when that life is detectable; it then becomes problematic to kill it, because it is then recognizable as being too similar to the joyous bundle in the cute blanket...after it is cleaned up at birth.
I had a discussion recently with a coworker about this very thing- she was content being vague about it- you know, the “it’s a procedure” line (it rubs the lotion on its skin). When I said, “Oh, it’s no longer the Law of the Land to rip apart a baby in the womb,” she didn’t like that very much. “Well, I don’t look at it like that,” she said. Of course you don’t: it’s more convenient and less inhumane or murderous to look at it your way.
I suppose that it’s pretty obvious where I stand, here. And that’s supposed to be OK, but I know that in this world, it’s not. No matter. I may lose some popularity, or I may gain some new friends. Either way, I will always stay true to myself and my faith. It was never meant to be a popularity contest, and I'll never pander to society.
I will leave you with this. It’s from Psalm 139.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
I posted a quote from a poem in my book today on Twitter, and it got me thinking about what I wrote, and what it means to me. The poem makes me a little sad for lost opportunities and frankly a little desperate, in a way, to try to make some sort of difference in the world. The snippet reads:
"Who will remain in years to come, eyes squeezed shut, desperately hunting for the color of your eyes in the slides of the mind, as time fades the ink of memory?"
I think that this old poem has played a part in driving me to complete The Long, Slow Summer Sun, as well as contributing to a sense of restlessness and unease with just living the "normal" way. You know: work, beer, sports on TV, Netflix- wash, rinse, repeat. When I finished my degree recently I was a little shell-shocked in a sense- no more studying, writing, researching, etc. I could live like others if I wanted to, but really can't. There is always something to be learning or researching. It's just my way.
So as I sit by the window writing this and enjoying an absolutely amazing Spring breeze and sunset, I don't know what's going to happen, or how much of a difference in the world my book will make. Does it matter? I'm not sure; I'm not sure that the sum total of my effect on the planet should be judged by the dissemination of my work, though in one sense that would almost have to be more than my physical presence's effect on my immediate area.
Who knows? Something to ponder.
In the Introduction of The Long, Slow Summer Sun I mentioned that the book was supposed to be called Fur and Phoenix and it came very close to being called that in the end. I changed the title in the final weeks of the project because I thought that it would be a little odd, considering no one would understand the meaning.
Maybe that would have contributed to more curious reader interaction? (Oh no- here goes the Post Published Second Guessing.)
Ok I'm back now.
Why would I have chosen such an odd title for a collection of (seemingly) random ramblings? I have many reasons for favoring Fur and Phoenix, and I'll begin with the easiest reason for someone who knows me and has been around recently: there are elements in the book that revolve around me and "my person." She has been present throughout the pages of the book, though I'll not divulge where and to what extent (because that adds to the romance and the mystery of it- no?), and it seemed fitting that the title include us and our tale in some way.
So the point: why the title? I thought of leaving the reader the task of figuring it out, but after sitting on that thought for a minute or two, I could see that it could potentially lead to the wandering of an overactive imagination (with potentially unsavory results), so I'll say that Fur and Phoenix should be interpreted in the same way as Beauty and the Beast. Ironically the beast in the latter title is fairly accurate since I've often likened my own character to a wolf, and I am a bit of a hairy guy.
And my mate is a fiery princess, and has hair to match her personality.
I've officially sold books this week, and some words come to mind:
Awe. Incredulous. Surreal.
Yes, I know- it's supposed to happen like that.
But when I just sit here and remember the chronology of this work, and the reality of actually sending this out there- I'm in a bit of shock. This whole event has been an odd bouncing between a Big Deal and It's Just What I Wrote, and I realize that it's not over; it's actually just beginning.
There haven't been any reviews yet (which will be the next traumatizing event, I'm sure!), but I know that there are copies of my book heading out into the world.
And that's amazing.
Amidst the chaos of the recent season came the package that I had actually entirely forgotten- the paperback version of my book. It has been a couple of days, and I have only just made the time to sit down and take a look at it this evening, just for a minute.
I've heard that actors don't necessarily watch the movies in which they have just participated, and I can commiserate; I've reviewed this work enough to say, "OK, whatever it is- it is done, and it's time for a rest." Now that I'm sitting here with a copy of the book in my lap, I'm still battling with the "Do I care what people think? I just needed to get this writing out of me," and the jury is still out.
On the other hand, I'm a little concerned that it's sloppy and not worth anyone's attention. I'm experiencing a series of, "Oh, I could have XX" and "Gee, I should have done XXX," which isn't doing anyone any good. I do love figuring things out on my own (and there was PLENTY of that!), but maybe if I had hired someone, things would turn out differently.
I may end up just sitting here in a funk, staring at the cover.